The outer rain bands have already reached us in Kinston some 50 miles from the coast. Not much wind yet.
Continued good news. Irene has weakened further with max winds down to 100 mph. More promising is the fact that the pressure has risen a bit, finally signaling an end to dropping pressure (a good measure of the core strength of the storm). Current forecast track has not changed from this AM, but Irene is no longer forecast to re-strengthen before hitting NC coast. Landfall of the eye is now projected for 0800 which means that tropical storm force winds are beginning to reach the coast. The storm is moving a bit faster so its damaging winds will move out more quickly.
Of course, this is still a huge and powerful hurricane. Winds of 100 mph with higher gusts will do plenty of serious damage. Wild Haggis is secured as well as we could secure her, so the rest is in the hands of God and the weather. Tonight and tomorrow will be quite scary for our friends anchored in the South River. Say a prayer for them.
Elsewhere, Tropical Depression #10 is hovering in the eastern Atlantic as if watching how Irene fairs before launching itself in this direction.
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